Imagine for just a moment the perfect workplace. Would it include friends/family? If it seems like the perfect work environment, that’s exactly what Andrea “Drea” Kirksey has obtained. She’s the owner/operator of ANailz by Drea K located inside the Everlasting Images Salon at 6820 N. Frostwood Parkway, Peoria, Illinois. Andrea works with her longtime friend and former classmate Breona Bynum along with DeShawnda Causey (co-owners) and Charlena Coleman who share a special friendship with Andrea as well. As a result of their close relationships, the vibe at the shop is very relaxed, friendly, and fun.
Andrea is originally from San Bernadino, California. She moved to Peoria in 1995, and proudly stated she is a graduate of Manual High School.
Before opening ANailz by Drea K, Andrea earned a Bachelor degree in Information Technology at Robert Morris College and worked full-time at Citizens Equity First Credit Union (CEFCU) for 13 years. While at CEFCU, she did nails as a hobby mostly for friends and family. She thoroughly enjoyed her career at CEFCU, but she also developed a passion for doing nails. So in 2011, she attended Advanced Educator in Washington, Illinois, obtaining her nail license in February 2012.
The journey from hobby to full-time business was a long one. “My passion was to do nails, but I wasn’t completely ready,” says Andrea. She had to tackle the fear of letting go of the security of a regular paycheck. She overcame that fear with prayer and waiting for confirmation. In the meantime, she asked lots of questions, did her research, and received lots of encouragement from family and friends.
Her fears included the assumption health insurance would not be affordable. She learned that’s just not the case. She also learned from her experience in the financial industry helping people establish a budget to manage finances. She uses that knowledge in addition to following the guidance and support of a financial advisor to establish an IRA. She took steps to ensure these very important areas of her life are addressed.
She continued to do nails part-time until she reached a point where a decision had to be made. As her clientele grew, her full-time job became overwhelming. She had to make a choice. After five years of praying over her options, in 2018 she took the leap of faith and quit her job.
Now, “I absolutely love it. Business has grown. I literally started my business out of a bag of products I purchased from Walmart. I get to pursue continuing nail education, travel to trade shows, and learn from the others at the shop. While there have been naysayers, the support of other business owners, committed clients, and better hours have all proven I made the right decision. None of this would be possible without faith in God and family support,” she says.
If you’d like to contact Andrea for an appointment or to discuss your needs, visit her website at www.anailz.com.